The Princeton football team is eagerly awaiting the Minnesota State High School League’s decision on whether it will be able to play under the Friday night lights this fall. Until then, the Tigers are readying for the 2020 season the best they can.
This past week featured the Tigers practicing with against Cambridge-Isanti during a July 22 scrimmage on the Princeton football practice field.
As for the exhibition against the Bluejackets, head coach Ryan Fay was happy to get back to a little bit or normalcy in this time of abnormal and play some football. “To have Cambridge come to our house and have a scrimmage like that in that type of setting couldn’t be any more of a normal situation there and I use normal as what we are aiming for,” Fay said.
Fay was also pleased with getting players getting back out on the field. He said that act a valuable distraction for everything going on currently regarding COVID-19. “It was great to get the pads on and play some normal football and let focus be more on that than some of the others things that are going on. I was really proud of the way the guys came out,” Fay said, adding players had minimal time to ready for the scrimmage against Cambridge.
With player safety being the main focus during this upcoming season, the Tigers have been doing everything they can to keep their athletes safe.
This includes the players wearing masks, sanitizing any equipment that comes in contact with a player, washing equipment and maintaining social distance to the best of the team’s ability. “We’ve been making that a point of emphasis as has everyone else. We have been doing our part there to the best that we can to keep the kids as safe as possible and provide as normal of a scenario as we possibly can,” Fay said.
In order to help with social distancing, Princeton also brought all of its equipment, including a makeshift weight room.
As the decision from the MSHSL comes later this week, Fay believes that the responsibility of Princeton coaching staff is ensuring that players can safely compete. “These kids want to play and they understand the situation to the best that they can and our job as a school, district and coaches is to give them that opportunity safely for these guys and I feel that was are doing that to the best of our abilities.”
Even with all of the measures Princeton is taking to make sure the kids stay safe, there is still a risk. “Playing football normal is a risk, and now we just increased that risk greatly,” Fay said. Princeton players who choose to participate this season must sign a waiver that allows them to play. Anyone showing signs of sickness are being encouraged to stay home.
When asked if there can safely be a fall sports season this year, Fay thinks there can be. “I believe that what we have been doing since June 8 has been just as risky as what a season would be besides the travel. The travel is the big beast,” he said. “We are ready to adapt as needed.”
Until Princeton gets word on its football season, the Tigers and Fay will prepare for the football season. “We are all ready to go as soon as we get the OK.”